Amtrak currently provides intercity passenger rail services in Mississippi operating two daily trains in Mississippi between Chicago and New Orleans; and the Crescent, between New York and New Orleans. Amtrak stations in Mississippi generated over 108,000 riders in 2009.
A third train, the Sunset Limited, between Los Angeles, New Orleans and Orlando, served Mississippi until Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and has since been suspended. Amtrak has studied the potential restoration of the service, which remains unrealized.
There are 10 Amtrak stations in Mississippi. Three of these stations – Hattiesburg, Jackson and Meridian – provide connections between Amtrak trains and local transit.
Along with the restoration of passenger rail service across the Southern Gulf Coast, the Southern Rail Commission has also envisioned passenger rail service operating between Atlanta and New Orleans via Meridian and Hattiesburg using the Norfolk Southern Railway’s mainline. A leg of this service would operate along the Gulf Coast between New Orleans and Mobile on the CSX Transportation mainline.
- Need for developing transportation alternatives to the growing congestion along Interstate 20 which is estimated to increase 70% by 2020
- Smaller mid-sized cities are rapidly losing air service. This proposed route provides another essential travel mode by providing access to international airports at Dallas-Ft. Worth and Jackson for residents in Vicksburg, Meridian and Hattiesburg
- Proposed service would connect mega-regions of Dallas-Fort Worth and Atlanta with economies and populations of Central Mississippi and beyond through connections with Amtrak’s Texas Eagle, City of New Orleans, and Crescent trains.
- Provides an emergency evacuation route during disasters and enhances accessibility by providing an additional mode of transportation
- Would improve the Canadian Northern–Kansas City Southern freight corridor between Jackson, Hattiesburg and Gulfport to encourage economic and port development